The Lowdown | SF20

Welcome to the ShutterFest Lowdown page. Here, you will find most of the information you need for the event. Is everything covered? Of course not, it’s ShutterFest, baby! This is your event and it’s what you make of it.

There will be dedicated vendor classrooms and our Rent-A-Human program in Midway East again this year. Vendors like Canon, Profoto, H&H Color Lab, and 17hats will have lots happening during the event where you can register for a seat directly through the app. Stay tuned for more details!

New to ShutterFest? Well, expect to learn more than you have ever learned before. ShutterFest is like no other conference out there. Not because we say so, but because your peers have said so. At this one-of-a-kind event, you will have access to educators like never before. They are here because they care about our industry and want to share EVERYTHING they know. No rockstar mentality allowed. You will network with your fellow photographers, make friends for life, and enjoy access to some of the best education available.

If you’re looking for structure, you are going to HATE ShutterFest. This is an event built on the idea that a little bit of chaos can lead to an endless amount of creativity and inspiration.

This is your career. Enjoy the journey. Enjoy learning, networking, shooting, laughing and making new life-long friendships. You have the power to make the event what you want it to be. Want to focus on business? Spend your time in classes. Want to focus on building your portfolio? Great! Spend your time working with models, shooting all day and night.

Take everything you know about conferences and throw it out the window! ShutterFest is all about community. We are one big family. Everyone here loves photography and wants what’s best for the industry. It’s not about a rockstar mentality, it’s about growing as an artist and being around like-minded people who share the same love and passion you do.

Overwhelmed? YOU SHOULD BE. Take a deep breath and know that every year there are a bunch of new people who attend— they don’t know anyone, they are scared, overwhelmed, and every other emotion. It’s like your first day of high school all over again. It’s completely normal. And just like school, after your first class or two, and once your nerves have settled, you will have made new friends for life. Come, enjoy, and soak up all the energy and inspiration.

Be sure to tag us in your posts – the world is watching! #ShutterFest

Important Shutterfest 2020 Update

As you know, COVID-19 has turned the world upside down. As a small business owner, you know and understand the impact this is having on our businesses, our families, and humanity. We must stay positive and look forward in the knowledge that this will pass. 
We are all doing the best we can and taking this one day at a time. However, we must be leaders and plan for the future. 
ShutterFest has confirmed new dates for ShutterFest 20. The event will take place on June 30th, July 1st, and Extreme on July 2nd. This is a Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, the same days of the week as the original ShutterFest. The event will be held at the same location. 
So, what’s next?
As you may or may not know, because the City of St Louis, the CDC, and others cancelled all events/gatherings larger than 25 people, ShutterFest was forced to either cancel or move its dates. We are truly in uncharted territory. This is impacting businesses around the world, ours included.
Many of you have questions on refunds, new dates, hotels, etc. Here is how we are proceeding forward as an event. 
Unfortunately, because we are in a Force Majeure situation (Act of God), we do not have the ability to issue full cash refunds. This is full transparency. We need your support to ensure the event continues into the future. As you know, when you purchased your ticket we have a no refund, no transfer policy. However, we understand things happen, so we have options. 
ShutterFest 20 will still be taking place as an event. 
So, what are my options?
Option 1 – attend the event on the new dates. This is our preferred option. ShutterFest is a community – we need our attendees, our people, our vendors to come together to support this amazing event so it survives well into the future. 
Option 2 – this is truly unprecedented for us, but we understand things happen. If you can not make it to the new 2020 dates, we will transfer your tickets to 2021 – which is scheduled for April 6 and 7th with Extreme taking place on the 8th, 2021. 
ACTION REQUIRED – click link to confirm your ticket choices
Airline reservations // 
All airlines are currently offering FREE changes to airline tickets. In many cases, ticket prices have dropped significantly and you can save money here by asking them to honor the new prices. 
Hotel reservations // 
If you had a reservation at Union Station prior March 9th – they will be transferring you to the new dates automatically. HOWEVER, very important, they are only moving you to the core dates of the event. Meaning, if you had dates planned pre-event or post-event you will have to visit the link and adjust your dates. IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO CHECK YOUR DATES AND CONFIRM. 
Go to and check your confirmation number. Any issues, please contact the hotel directly. 
If you had reservations at Hilton Ballpark – those were NOT moved automatically because they are different booking systems. You should have no problem booking your rooms – that hotel did not sell out. 
Please if you can, support the event by staying at one of the host hotels – Union Station or Hilton Ballpark. 
Link for Ballpark coming soon – hotel is working to set it up. 
Other FAQ // 
We are sure you have a ton of other questions – please visit or the Facebook group for real-time updates. 
Beyond that, nothing much has changed about the event. Of course, the dates have slid, but everything else will be relevant as it pertains to dates. We will be working over the upcoming days and weeks to update the site, dates, speakers, vendors, etc. 
Thank you for your outpouring of love and support for the event. Together, we got this!!

Team Shutter

Event Hours

Monday Early Registration: 2:00 PM – 8:00 PM // Monday Image Competition: Start time: To be announced.

Tuesday: 8:00 AM – 11:30 PM // Pajama Party: 9:00 PM – Midnight

Wednesday: 8:00 AM – 8:30 PM // ShutterFest Wrap Party: 9:00 PM – Midnight

Thursday (ShutterFest Extreme): 9:30 AM – 5:30 PM

Host Hotels: Union Station Hotel (Sold out!) | Hilton Ball Park* (Click here to book!)

***In order to get the ShutterFest Room Rate and get a goodie bag, you must book through the link above and reserve a room for a minimum 3 night stay during ShutterFest (i.e. June 30 – June 2nd, 2020.) ***

Free shuttles will run from Hilton Ballpark to Union Station every 30 minutes from 1:00pm-9:00pm on Monday. 

On Tuesday and Wednesday, from 7:00 AM – 10:00 AM and 7:00 PM – Midnight.

On Thursday, shuttles will run every 30 minutes from 8:00 AM – 10:00 AM & 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM.

Pickup from Hilton Ballpark will be at the Walnut Street entrance between the East & West tower. Pickup at Union Station to return to Hilton Ballpark will be outside of the Terminal Atrium.

Why wasn’t I emailed any information? As was stated on our site and in the email receipt – all communication would happen via the ShutterFest Facebook group and the mobile app.

Why? We don’t want to spam you, and in the past we have had numerous communications go to junk mail, incorrect email addresses, or just not read. Again, this was communicated right from the beginning that all event-specific communication would happen via Facebook group and the app. We are doing exactly what we said we would do.

Registering for Classes


We will have an app again for ShutterFest 2020. 



We will send an email invitation to the app to THE EMAIL YOU USED TO REGISTER FOR THE EVENT. This invitation email will be sent from Be sure to add this to your address book to ensure you receive the email. Check your junk folder. This invitation could get flagged as spam.

Does the app work on a tablet/iPad? Yes. As long as you can access the app store, you should be able to download and use the app.

Does the app work on a laptop or desktop? No, the app can only be accessed on a tablet or phone.

Do I have to register for classes? Yes, space is limited. The system will only allow you to register for one class per time slot. So, be sure to register for your MUST-HAVE classes first.

How do I sign up for classes? Sign up for the classes you want by using our ShutterFest mobile app. Classes are on a first come first serve basis. Hands-on classes are limited to 50 attendees. Max capacity for lecture and live demonstration classes are based on the capacity of each room or space. Be sure to save your schedule on the app and choose wisely! We recommend taking a screenshot or writing down your schedule, in case there are issues with wifi in the hotel.

What is the most efficient way to register for classes? You can register for one class at a time by selecting “Schedule” from the navigation bar in the app OR you can select your favorite speaker and see all their classes on one screen by selecting “Speakers” in the navigation bar in the app.

How many classes can I register for? You will be limited to one class per time slot.

Time slots for breakout sessions at Union Station (NOT Off-Site Locations) are:


  • 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM
  • 3:00 PM – 4:30 PM
  • 5:00 PM – 6:30 PM
  • 8:00 PM – 9:30 PM
  • 10:00 PM  – 11:30 PM


  • 10:30 AM -12:00 PM
  • 3:00 PM – 4:30 PM
  • 5:00 PM – 6:30 PM
  • 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM

Time slots for breakout sessions at Off-Site Locations are: 


  • 10:30 AM – 1:30 PM
  • 2:30 PM – 5:30 PM


  • 10:30 AM – 1:30 PM
  • 2:30 PM – 5:30 PM

There are too many classes. How will I attend them all? Welcome to ShutterFest, ladies and gentlemen. You will never, let me repeat, NEVER attend every class, every shooting exercise, every outdoor class, and that is the point. We created ShutterFest to be overwhelming. We want there to be TOO much good information and too much to do. Some advice: Where are you weak? What are the 3 or 4 things you want to walk away with from ShutterFest? Find those courses and go at it full power!

What if the class I want is completely booked? We don’t guarantee any single class, but fret not. ShutterFest is not about any single class. You have access to Photo Walks, Lunch & Learns, the Profoto Lighting Experience, Rent-a-Human, and tons of classes and shoots on the tradeshow floor. We promise, you will not be disappointed. Come and enjoy the conference. It’s unlike anything you have ever been to.

AGAIN, we do not guarantee access to any single class. Classes are kept small for maximum experience. Add yourself to the waitlist or sign up for another class. People drop in and out of classes all the time, so you never know if a spot will open up. Again, ShutterFest is not about any single class. It’s about your overall experience.

Instead, enjoy the entire event. Make new friends. Network. Build your portfolio.

You have access to models and wardrobe. FREE.
You have access to loaner gear to play with. FREE.
You have access to Photo Walks. FREE.
You have access to Lunch & Learns. FREE.
You have access to impromptu post-event shoots. FREE.
You have access to off-site excursions. FREE.
You have access to the trade show area. FREE.
You have access to the Profoto Lighting Experience Shooting Bays. FREE.

Can I register for multiple hands-on classes? Yes, there are no restrictions on hands-on classes. It is first come first serve.

If I don’t like the class I’m in, or am not registered for a class, can I just go to any class? All classes give priority to the people who are actually registered. After the first 15 minutes, if there is space available in the classroom, you’re welcome to join!

Will I get a chance to shoot in a hands-on class? Because of the way ShutterFest is structured, the hands-on classes with instructors will always be crowded. Again this year, we are limiting the hands-on classes to roughly 50 people per class. While this may seem like a larger-sized group, it still allows for everyone to hear and shoot. We have added a significant amount of hands-on classes and off-site excursions this year to deal with the growth of the event. In addition to hands-on classes, we have the Rent-A-Human program (see below). Don’t want to be in a crowded class? Perfect, grab a small group of people and a model and start your own hands-on shoot.

What’s the difference between lecture, live demonstration and hands-on classes?

  • Lecture: These are non-shooting courses. Typically classroom based, bring your laptop and notepad and focus on learning!
  • Hands-On: These are shooting courses. You will be shooting and working. Bring your camera, gear, or whatever you need for the course and to create images. Expect to have some level of shooting.
  • Live Demonstration: These are instructor-led courses where you will see a live demonstration of what the instructor is teaching. You can still bring your cameras to these courses and you can photograph, but the goal of the course is NOT for you to shoot or to ensure you get a shot. The goal is for you to see how and why the instructor does what he/she does in order to get the final result.

Is there an additional fee for classes? Unlike other conferences, no, there are no additional or hidden fees. Don’t see a course you like, or the one you want is completely booked? Not a problem, check out the Rent-A-Human program or the shooting bays at the Profoto Shooting Bays.

How can I see what classes I am currently registered for? Log into the app to track the classes you are registered for by clicking “My Schedule” in the navigation bar. Select the date to see your schedule for that day.

What if I change my mind and want to register for a new class? No problem. When viewing your schedule within the mobile app, click the check mark next to the class you would like to remove. It will ask you to confirm that you want to unregister. REMEMBER: Classes are first come first serve. If the session fills up you may not be able to re-register for this class. Once you have confirmed you want to unregister, you will then be able to register for the new class. Register for the new class you want by following the instructions in the how-to-guide.

Can I reserve a spot for someone else? No. They have to register themselves with their account.

Can I register or track my courses via my phone? Yes. Visit the app store and download and install the new mobile app, as instructed above. Starting on June 15th, you will be able to register for classes by following the instructions in the how-to-guide (coming soon).

Can I teach my own class? No. This is not allowed per event rules. If you would like to be an instructor, by all means apply to teach and your time will come. As an attendee at the event, attend the courses and the program we have assembled for you. We have spent a lot of time and energy to put together an amazing program for you with some of the best speakers and educators out there. Enjoy the conference. Now, that’s not to say you can’t help one another. Of course you can, that’s the culture of ShutterFest. However, it sends the wrong message to attendees if random people decide they want to be instructors. The hotel and its property is 100% paid for by ShutterFest, please respect that.

What if I want to shoot the entire conference? Perfect! You have come to the right conference. Check out the Rent-A-Human program below. We have over 300 models for you to work with for FREE.

Will we get slides from the classes? Yes, if you receive the goodie bag (see below). Unlike other conferences, we give you all the presentations from the classroom courses.i

Registration at the event

Registration will be in the Grand Hall of Union Station and you will need your photo ID to check in and get your badge.

What time will registration be open?

Monday: 2:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Tuesday: 6:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Wednesday: 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM

What do I need for registration? Your driver’s license or photo ID. You will not be able to check in without it. Not even if your dog ate it.

IMPORTANT: The name on your ID MUST match the name you used to register for your ticket. You will experience complications at registration if these do not match. If you have legally changed your name since you purchased your ticket, email or bring proof of your name change to make everyone’s life a little easier.

Can I pick up my friends/spouses/other badge? No. They will have to show their ID to pick up their badge. No exceptions.

I don’t have a ticket. Can I just show up? We love all photographers, but for this event, you need a ticket! The event always sells out. There is no guarantee you will be able to purchase a ticket at the door. HOWEVER, If there is space left, you can buy a ticket at the door. The price for a general admission ticket will be $299. You snooze, you lose. Don’t wait. Buy your ticket now –

Can I transfer my ticket or get a refund? No. This has been outlined dozens of times and it’s even listed on the site before you order your tickets. There are a multitude of reasons why we have this policy. Here is the main reason – the event is THE most inexpensive educational event on the PLANET bar-none. The event is also limited in size – once it sells out – it’s sold out! We are offering you hands-on shooting, portfolio building, top level educators – would cost $1k at other events. You know what you paid for your ticket. Well, in the beginning, people were buying 5 tickets at a time and selling them on eBay for $500 and that goes against the event and why we created it. Hence, no transfers or refunds. This ensures that no one can scam the system and we keep your ticket price affordable. So death, charities, mission trips, terminal illness, can’t afford to come, and the dozens of requests or reasons for a transfer or refund, our sincerest apologies, but this is a policy that has no wiggle room. We hope you understand the in-depth explanation we have provided.


Once again, we will have 6 bad-ass ShutterFest shirts for sale. Limited quantities, styles and sizes available – you can’t get these designs anywhere else. CLICK HERE TO PREORDER!

I preordered a t-shirt. How do I pick it up? You can pick up pre ordered shirts during registration hours. (Monday from 2:00 PM – 6:00 PM, Tuesday from 6:00 AM – 4:00 PM, and Wednesday from 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM) next to the registration desks.

How do I get a t-shirt at the event? How much are they? You can purchase t-shirts during the event at the Swag Station, which is to the right of the doors at the far end of Midway West. 

Shirts will be $40 at the show, but we recommend preordering. Not only will you guarantee the shirt(s) you want will be there and available in your size, you’ll save $5!

*Please note: The t-shirt bundle WILL NOT be available at the show. (you’ll have to buy all 6 separately)

Goodie Bags

As you are all aware, ShutterFest is EXTREMELY affordable compared to other conferences of this size. We are able to do this because of the negotiated terms with the host hotel. As a thank you for supporting the event and staying in our room block at the host hotels, everyone staying in our room block at Union Station or the Hilton Ballpark will get a goodie bag.

To receive a goodie bag you must be:

  1. An attendee at ShutterFest. Don’t expect to get goodie bags for your husband, friend or dog whose name is on the room but not attending ShutterFest. Stop gaming the system. 🙂 
  2. Booked under the SF20 ROOM BLOCK (all 3 nights) and have your name on the hotel room by June 25th, 2020 @ 11:59 PM CST in order to receive a goodie bag. NO EXCEPTIONS. Adding names to reservations after June 25th is allowed, they just won’t get a goodie bag.

How do I add my name to a room reservation at the host hotel? The only person that can add names to a room reservation is the person that made the reservation. For example: If John made the reservation, John can add Kim, Cindy, and Donnie. Donnie cannot add himself to John’s reservation – only John could do that.

So, if you want to be added to a room reservation to get a goodie bag, you will simply need to have the person who booked the room add your name to the reservation. This can be done 1 of 2 ways:

  1. Add all additional guest names to the reservation at the time of booking (this can be done both online or if you’re making a reservation over the phone).
  2. If booking is complete and you wish to add guest names later, the person whose name is on the original reservation can call the hotel to add additional guest names. Tip: ALWAYS make sure you receive the confirmation email so you have proof.

There’s no need to mention goodie bags when you call, just make sure your room is booked in the SF20 room block and you have any additional guests confirmed on your room.

Why do I have to stay at the host hotels to get a goodie bag? Well, quite simply and transparently, we get a major discount for the hotel meeting spaces if our attendees stay at the host hotel. These savings are passed on to you in the form of an incredibly LOW registration fee. There is no other conference loaded with this much education for this price. Anywhere!

So, the goodie bag is an incentive and reward for those who stay at the host hotel and help support the event. If not, we would have to raise prices for the event and no one wants that.

How do I get a goodie bag? You will go to the Goodie Bag Lockup area located between the trade show floor and the Canon Theatre. You will need your ID to get a goodie bag. We will look up your name on a list provided by the hotel to ensure you are staying at one of the host hotels. If your name is not on the list, we cannot give you a goodie bag.

***WARNING***  Trying to game the system will only serve to frustrate the event and the spirit of ShutterFest. The bags are there to entice you to stay at the host hotel to keep ticket prices low for everyone. Gaming this by adding people to your room that are not staying at the hotel, etc will lead to bags being forfeited for the entire room if caught. If you have a problem with this please message Sal directly – there will be no exceptions to this policy.

Where do I pick up my goodie bag? You can pick up your goodie bag from the Goodie Bag Lockup any time during trade show hours. This is located between the trade show floor and the Canon Theatre. Please refer to the site map in the show guide or app for directions.

Will I receive a goodie bag if I stay at the host hotel for one night then switch hotels? No. Stop gaming the system. You have to be part of the SF20 room block (all 3 nights) and room rate for ShutterFest. This is a reward for staying at the host hotel – which is giving the event an EXTREMELY reasonable rate in return for the hotel rooms being booked. And guess what? This keeps your ticket price low.

What’s in the Goodie Bag?  Exclusive savings & specials from our vendors, Speaker slides from all lecture and some live-demonstration classes (on a drive provided by Photo Flash Drives), and some extra fun stuff! In the past, we’ve had stress balls, frisbees, Profoto cups, energy drinks, earrings, earbud holders, etc. MORE DETAILS COMING SOON!

Secret shoot with Sal & Profoto USA

This year, 10 lucky people will get to be part of our secret shoot. In the past, we have shot at Busch Stadium, a top-secret location inside the historic Union Station Hotel, INSIDE the trains at Union Station, at the Stifel Theatre, and inside a St. Louis Speakeasy. 

This year will be no different. We have something ONE OF A KIND and completely exclusive for 10 people to build their portfolios and work side-by-side with Sal Cincotta and the Profoto Team. 

So, how can you win one of these coveted seats? Over the next few weeks leading up to the event, we will have random challenges posted during the week – some silly, some serious. The winner of each challenge will win a seat to the event. AND THE FINAL TWO SEATS will be given out during our opening platform on Tuesday morning. Let the games begin!


What gear should I bring? Bring whatever you plan to shoot with— camera bodies, lenses, flashes, tripods, etc. It’s a shooting conference. You’re a photographer. Do the math. 🙂 

Will there be gear to rent at the event? Yes. We have vendors at the event that will have limited gear for you to rent including Profoto, Canon, Sigma, Tamron, Panasonic, Olympus, MagMod, Westcott, Zeiss, and more.

Interested in trying a new Canon DSLR/Mirrorless or Canon Lens? Canon will be on hand with their full line of professional DSLRs, mirrorless cameras, and select lenses for you to sign out. Additionally, Canon Technical Experts will be available to assist with camera settings and to answer any technical questions you may have while shooting.

Can I buy gear at the show? Yes. B&H, The Pixel Connection, and Dury’s will be selling camera gear.


Food Trucks: We will have food trucks again this year for meals. On June 30th and July 1st, we will have food trucks on site for both lunch and dinner. On the 2nd we will have food trucks on site for lunch. We know. It’s pretty bad-ass. Conference food already sucks, so we wanted to do something that was ShutterFest-worthy. And no, we are not paying for your lunch. 🙂

Grab ‘n’ Grub: In a hurry? Stop by and grab some grub under the Midway Overhang. Pick up coffee, water, soda, sandwiches and snacks for a quick pick-me-up.

There are also many restaurants located in and around Union Station. Landry’s is located outside near the lake. The NEW Soda Fountain restaurant is located outside Union Station (where the Hard Rock used to be) The Train Shed is located outside the aquarium. The 1894 Cafe is located on the second floor of Union Station by the Hall of Mirrors. Station Grille is located right behind the Grand Hall on the second floor of Union Station.  This year, the hotel will be doing a smaller, select menu for room service to alleviate wait times. Starbucks is located in the Grand Hall by the gym.

Digital Image Competition

2020 will mark the 6th Annual ShutterFest Image Competition. Show the world and your peers what you’ve got! Image competition is the BEST way to improve your skills and become better as a photographer. Don’t be shy. Feedback and constructive critique has helped us all grow. Not to mention, there are some killer prizes from our awesome vendors!

Canon will be printing select submitted images and displaying them at the Gateway Image Gallery in Midway East, across from Midway Suite V. 


Categories Include

First Timer | General
Wedding | Bride or Groom Alone
Wedding | Couple Together
Wedding | Details
Portrait | Animals
Portrait | Beauty
Portrait | Children
Portrait | Engagement
Portrait | Group or Family
Portrait | High School Senior/Teens
Portrait | Newborn
Portrait | Individual
Portrait | Maternity
Creative | Fashion
Creative | Landscape
Creative | Illustrative
Photojournalism | Wedding
Photojournalism | Non-Wedding

Live judging will be hosted at the event on Monday, June 29th. 

Who can enter? The competition is open to all photographers, both professional and amateur.

How many times can I enter? You can enter up to 25 entries.

Do I have to attend ShutterFest to enter? No. You will be able to see your scores after the event in your dashboard.

Can I upload my images later? Yes. You can enter and pay for the entries and submit your images at any time before the deadline.

Can I alter my entry after I create it? Yes, you have up until the deadline to change your image, category and/or title.

What happens if I enter, but don’t upload my images in time? The system will lock you out and you will not be able to enter your images. THERE ARE NO REFUNDS.

Where will the results be posted? The results will be posted to your dashboard after the event. Winners will be featured in an upcoming issue of Shutter Magazine.


ShutterFest Extreme // ALL BUSINESS

ShutterFest Extreme is a 3rd day dedicated to more of the business side of photography. Sure, taking pretty pictures is why we all love photography, but if you want to actually make money at this thing called photography there are other facets to the business side. In this action packed day, you will hear from some of the most knowledgeable people inside and outside of our industry.


Extreme will take place on July 2nd, 2019 from 9:30 AM – 5:30 PM

Food Trucks there for the lunch break. You will have 1 hour for lunch.

There will be a FREE shuttle running from Hilton BallPark to Union Station from 7:00 AM – 10:00 AM & 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM.


Click here to register for SF Extreme or to see more info on speakers and topics.

Do I have to register for Extreme classes in the app? No. A ticket to Extreme gets you access to all the classes going on that day, so there is nothing to register for. It is listed on the app for informational purposes only.


Tuesday Night Party

Did Someone Say Party?! Grab your favorite PJ’s and get ready to party! Tuesday night’s party is from 9:00 PM – Midnight. But don’t fall asleep… we’ll be ready to #slumberfest you 🙂 We’ll have music, drinks and awesome giveaway prizes from our vendors!

Wednesday Night Party

Wrap Party // Time: 9:00 PM – Midnight

All parties are held in the Grand Hall of Union Station Hotel.

Rent-A-Human (aka RAH)

Aptly named by our comedian from ShutterFest 2014, Pat McGann, this is now the name of our model program.

What is Rent-A-Human? This is our FREE modeling and portfolio building program at the event. Since ShutterFest is a hands-on and shooting conference, we realize the need for lots and lots of models. This year, we will have over 300 models at the event across all different genres. High School Seniors, families, babies, children, glamour, boudoir, weddings, general portraits, fashion, fitness and same-sex.

Do I have to pay to rent a model? No. The Rent-A-Human program is completely free.

Do I have to have my own model release form? Model releases have been signed by all models prior to the event, and you are completely covered for official ShutterFest classes, Photo Walks, and Rent-A-Human sessions. For after-hours shoots, you WILL need to obtain your own release.

When can I rent a model? Models will be available to work with on Tuesday and Wednesday from 10am-1pm and 3pm-6:30pm. RAH will be closed from 1-3pm – NO EXCEPTIONS.

How does it work? In order to Rent-A-Human you must use the RAH Model Request Form, available at the event only. The minimum size group will be 2 photographers. We STRONGLY recommend not working in groups larger than 5. The entire point of the program is to give you time to shoot.

There are 3 stations. Station #1 is where you will fill out your Model Request form and get all your questions answered. Station #2 is where you will turn in your completed form, show your photo ID, and pick up your model. You will be able to take the models on location for outdoor shooting or anywhere inside Union Station (except the aquarium and other prohibited areas below). As a group, you will decide on your own. Station #3 is where you will return your model.

How many models are there? We will have over 300+ models at the event. Know someone who wants to model in 2021 to build their portfolio? Have them register here.

How can I see which models are coming to ShutterFest? This year we have put together a gallery of ALL the models that will be attending ShutterFest! Click here to see who is coming:

Hair & Makeup: Paul Mitchell the School will be volunteering their time and resources to provide hair and makeup for the models to ensure your shoots are top-notch!

Can I bring in my own hair & make up artist? Yes, there will be a designated area for outside hair and makeup artists. Hair and makeup WILL NOT be allowed in the halls this year, due to the crowding it causes for both attendees and hotel staff. If you would like to bring your own HMUA, please contact with their name and contact information.

What kind of wardrobe is available through Rent-A-Human? We have a few local bridal shops that donated 60+ wedding and bridesmaid dresses for you to use on your shoots! Models will be instructed to bring other outfits for their shoots, however, if you are looking for a stylized shoot, feel free to bring an outfit or two that you have been dying to shoot.

Can I pick a model or category I want to shoot? You can specify two category choices on your Model Request form – we will do our best to supply you with your first request, but we can not guarantee that model type will be available. Models are based on availability, time of day, etc. Again, you are not guaranteed any specific model or genre. We will do our best. Models CAN NOT be selected by name. If you want to set up a shoot with a specific model, you will need to coordinate directly with that model OUTSIDE OF RAH HOURS.

Can I bring my own wardrobe for a Rent-A-Human model? If you would like to bring an outfit or other clothing accessories for the models, you are more than welcome to do that. Don’t forget, we have wedding dresses available on site for bridal and the male models have been instructed to bring suits.

How long do I have to shoot with my Rent-A-Human model? You will have 1 1/2 hours to work with the model. We will be monitoring check out times and return times, and if you are late returning the models, you will no longer be allowed access to the Rent-a-Human program for the remainder of the event. Please note – this applies to your entire team. You are a team – you win together, you lose together.

Where can I go to shoot? You may shoot anywhere in or around Union Station EXCEPT the following locations:

  1. The Aquarium 
  2. All public restaurants
  3. Mirror Maze

Wherever you decide to go, be mindful of your time for Rent-A-Human! Wandering too far will eat into your shooting time.

Can I plan my own after hours shoots? Shooting after hours is not only encouraged, it’s expected. ShutterFest is something that goes on all day and into the late hours of the night. You will have to coordinate with the models directly on this because each model has time and travel restraints. Please note: after-hours shoots must be planned after RAH hours. During RAH hours, models are needed for Rent-a-Human. (the main reason they are at the event 🙂 )

How do I share images with the models? This is where we have to show our ShutterFest love. The models are here for free. In return, you are expected to share your images with them for their portfolios. They are working to build their portfolio and they need your help for that to happen. Please share your images!

The models will have signed release forms prior to the event – so you have been cleared to use these for your portfolio, website, etc. THEY DO NOT SIGN ANYTHING FOR YOU DIRECTLY. 

You are more than welcome, and encouraged, to share your contact information with the models. We have created model info cards to facilitate this exchange, so that you can have a photograph of your model’s information.

We do not expect you to track down every model you shoot. ShutterFest will have a sharing site (Powered by N-Vu) where the models can grab their images for their portfolio.

To share your images please upload them to Click the upload button in the lower left corner to upload your images to the gallery.

This is an N-Vu gallery and the models will have the ability to download the images from the site. It’s perfectly fine to put your watermark in the lower right corner of your image. Just remember, they want these for their portfolios, so the watermark should be noticeable, but not overpower the image.

Sizing your Images: Resolution for the image should be roughly 1300 pixels on the long edge @ 144 pixels. This is perfect for the web. If you use Lightroom for the export, this is easy.

Naming your Images: Name your images using the following naming convention: ModelName_StudioName_SF20_Number.jpg 

This makes it easy for models to find their images in the gallery and keep track of the photographers they worked with.

The Profoto Lighting Experience (AKA The Shooting Bays)

Profoto is here! Play with the latest and greatest gear on the planet. Right off the trade show floor in Midway West there will be 4 Shooting Bays stocked with Profoto lights and Profoto light shaping tools. There will be models in the bays at all times for you to work with for FREE! Build your portfolio, practice new techniques, and work with your peers to create some awesome images!

The Profoto Shooting Bays are an amazing way to build your portfolio, practice what you learned in class and self-teach. Part of being a photographer is experimenting…so experiment to your heart’s content! We will provide the ingredients, including the models, and you’ll provide the talent. This is a great way to work with new gear and produce killer images for your portfolio.

OFF-Site shooting locations

For ShutterFest 2020, we have secured 5 off-site shooting locations so you can continue to create incredibly unique images for your portfolio.

Transportation to and from these locations will be provided each day. We’ll also be providing models from our Rent-A-Human Program at each location. Some of these locations will be led by ShutterFest instructors, and some will be led by ShutterFest vendors.

And of course, they’re all included in your General Registration ticket for one low price. NO EXTRA FEES.

Where are the off-site shooting locations:

  1. Riverboat at the Gateway Arch
  2. Tower Grove Park
  3. Lafayette Park

How do I register to go to an off-site shooting location? You’ll be able to register for the off-site location in the mobile app while registering for classes. You will NOT be able to add another class during the time of the off-site excursion you register for in the app. We are treating these just like a normal scheduled ShutterFest class.

How many attendees will be at each location? We will be limiting each off-site location to 40 ATTENDEES ONLY.

Can I just show up to a bus without registering? NO. There are a limited number of seats on the bus. You MUST be registered for the class in order to board the bus and go to the location.

How do I get to the shooting locations? Buses to and from each location are being provided by ShutterFest. Buses will pick up and drop off on 20th Street outside the ballrooms (past the food trucks).

Can I bring my own model? No. We have a limited number of spots on the buses and have pre-designated models at each location for you to shoot with.

Can I bring my own wardrobe? No. Models have already been given instructions on what to wear and bring to each shooting location, based on the class in that location. There will not be time to change them into the wardrobe you bring.

Volunteer at Shutterfest

Wanna be a volunteer at one of the most exciting events on the planet? We are in search of 40 volunteers for the event this year in various areas such as Rent-A-Human, Help Desk, Registration, Off-Site Locations, Image Competition, and more!

Think you got what it takes? Click here to fill out an application.